Angola: “Football leaks” Whistleblower is at the Source of the #LuandaLeaks

The Luanda Leaks show how the Dos Santos family accumulated its wealth

(Paris, 27 January 2020) - Many media outlets from around the world have in recent days published key information about the fortune of the family of former Angolan president José Eduardo Dos Santos. The source of the “Luanda Leaks” is the whistleblower Rui Pinto, the Platform to Protect Whistleblowers in Africa (PPLAAF) said today.

ICIJ and more than 120 reporters from 36 media organizations in 20 countries have worked on the “Luanda Leaks”, publishing key information about the fortune of Isabel Dos Santos, the daughter of former Angolan president José Eduardo Dos Santos, and her husband, Sindika Dokolo. The records and articles also show how a plethora of financial firms, lawyers, accountants and government officials worldwide, such as Boston Consulting Group, McKinsey & Company and PwC, have stepped up to enable the schemes.

The “Luanda Leaks” had been entrusted to PPLAAF by whistleblower Rui Pinto, who wanted to expose activities that are illegal or contrary to public interest. Pinto had previously participated in the revelation of the “Football Leaks”, tens of millions of documents concerning contracts, transfers, commissions and tax evasion in the world of football. These revelations, and Rui Pinto's cooperation with numerous European authorities, have led to judicial investigations in several countries. Rui Pinto is currently in a pre-trial detention in Portugal, where he is being prosecuted for illegal access to confidential data, amongst other things. Many international media outlets consider him to be a whistleblower.

Given their pertinence to the international public interest and their considerable size, PPLAAF shared the “Luanda Leaks” with its historical partner, the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ). ICIJ and its media partners were able to give the Luanda Leaks an international impact. PPLAAF hopes the Luanda Leaks will lead to the launching of investigations worldwide and thus promote the fight against impunity for financial crimes.

Since the publication of the Luanda Leaks, global accounting firm PWC has announced that an internal investigation is being conducted, and that it has ceased working with certain individuals and corporations linked to the scheme. EuroBic, a Lisbon-based arm of a bank where Isabel Dos Santos is the biggest shareholder, said on January 20th that it was ending its “commercial relationship” with her.

“PPLAAF is pleased that once again a whistleblower is revealing to the world actions that go against international public interest,” said William Bourdon, President of PPLAAF and lawyer of Rui Pinto. “Like in the case of the Football Leaks, these revelations should allow for new investigations to be launched and thus help in the fight against impunity for financial crimes in Angola and in the world”.

Despite extensive natural resources and a fast-growing economy, Angola remains one of the poorest countries on earth, with high inequality rates and widespread corruption.

On 30 December 2019, the Angolan judiciary announced the freezing of assets, bank accounts and holdings in several companies in Angola of Isabel Dos Santos. On 10 January 2020, the Portuguese judicial authorities announced that they had opened an investigation against Isabel Dos Santos for money laundering.

Jose Eduardo Dos Santos was President of Angola from 1979 to 2017. During his presidency, corruption was endemic, and he was regularly accused of enriching his family, including through nepotism. His daughter was appointed president of Sonangol, the Angolan oil company, and his son president of the Angolan sovereign wealth fund.

The disclosure of the documents to PPLAAF was not politically motivated.

PPLAAF is a non-governmental organization established in 2017 to defend whistleblowers, as well as to advocate and engage in strategic litigation on their behalf when their revelations deal with the general interest of African citizens. PPLAAF offers a full spectrum of solutions to address the different needs of whistleblowers: protected communication, free legal support in the form of advice or legal representation, ongoing assistance to protect the whistleblower in disclosing information to the public, development of legislation protecting whistleblowers, etc.

For more information, please contact info@pplaaf.org

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